Mon | Jan 21, 2019

A few suggestions for Andrew Holness

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 11:04 PM


I have followed, with keen interest, the debate relating to the push by the People's National Party to have the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) replace the Judicial Privy Council (JPC) as Jamaica's final Court of Appeal. It is no secret that Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, and by extension the Jamaica Labour Party, opposes such a move, unless the citizens of Jamaica, by referendum, approve.

I wish to give Mr Holness some unsolicited advice.

It is quite obvious that the vast majority of our citizens will not be affected by the move from the JPC to the CCJ. In fact, we may not even notice the move as so few cases of interest to the general public reach, or will reach, these final courts of appeals.

I am certain, and I would be surely disappointed if I am wrong, that Mr Holness has issues which he is passionate about and which will have immediate impact on governance and the lives of our citizenry. If he does not, I can suggest a few, including term limits for all politicians, including the prime minister, direct voting for prime minister, campaign finance reform, reduction of members of parliament and parish counsellors, strengthening of the anti-corruption laws, to name a few.

Mr. Holiness should, in exchange for supporting the replacement of the JPC with the CCJ, propose legislation, not just proposals but actual legislations, to the PNP and tie the actual passage of these legislations to any agreement to support the CCJ as the final court of appeal.

I am certain that the PNP would be hard-pressed to not support legislations to strengthen governance, which the people of Jamaica urgently need, in exchange for supporting the CCJ.

In my humble opinion, Mr Holiness is missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show true statesmanship by not placing the PNP in the position of negotiating its way to the CCJ. An opportunity such as this may never present itself again.

Percival A. Clarke